For most people a summer vacation is going to the beach, visiting friends and family, visiting historic areas and taking family trips.
Mexico High School English teacher, Kayla Meier, has chosen a different path for two weeks of her summer vacation. For the past three years she has taken a mission trip to Romania. Romania is a sovereign state located in Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia, and Moldova.
Meier, who graduated from Hannibal-LaGrange University, takes the trip with a group of friends she met while attending the university. The group is from Calvary Baptist Church, Hannibal. The team spends two weeks helping Cristian and Michelle Harela with their full-time mission ministry. Meier met the Harelas while living in Hannibal. Cristian Harela is from Romania and he married Michelle seven years ago. They recently began their full-time ministry in Romania. While in Romania, the team stays with the Harelas and their three children.
While in Romania, Meier and her team, worked at an orphanage, held a Vacation Bible School and wood crafting ministry, among other things.
The reason the Mexico teacher returns to Romania is her belief in what the Harelas are doing there. She really likes what their ministry is about and she goes to serve in anyway they need her.
Meier said the culture is different in Romania than in the United States.
"They are coming out of the era of communism," she said. "Some of the people are acceptable to the change, but some, not so much because this is the way of life they have known," she added.
During her three years spending time in Romania, the St. Louis native said she has met new friends. She has become friends of the translators and has made a good relationship with them.
Also, the children are special. "The kids in some of the villages remember you from the previous year," she said.
The trip was from July 10 to 20. It took the team approximately 14 hours for the trip. They drove from Hannibal to Chicago (five hours), flew from Chicago to London (six hours), and then flew from London to Romania (three hours).
Meier said she would return again. "I would love to go again," she said.